Jun 22, 2010 at 5:18 pm #1260437
I climbed Mt. Shasta the 18th and 19th with a group of 8. We climbed to just below Helen Lake the first day. There was snow starting from the parking lot. Prior to this, my only experience hiking in the snow was hiking Mt. Baldy in SoCal. It was a pretty easy hike. Really pretty. We got to camp, dug out the snow for our tents and practiced self arresting for a bit. Then we had some dinner and hit the sack around 7 pm.
We woke up about 2:30 am and were hiking by 3 am the next day. This was my first experience using crampons. It was pretty fun. Unfortunately, the snow didn't completely freeze and so it was a little slow going. We had to be careful because the week before there were a ton of injuries due to rock and ice falling down avalanche gulch. We stayed close to a ridge on the right to avoid the falling rock/ice. It was a pretty good hike up there. Taking breaks was the worst part of the whole hike. It's amazing how fast you get cold once you stop moving. It was definitely a work out. My least favorite part was climbing up short hill. It was really crunchy ice and it was difficult making sure we had a good grip with our crampons. I also now know that misery hill is aptly named. Not the toughest hill, but by that point in the hike I was worn out and it seemed like the stupid hill kept going and going.
Everyone made the summit by 12:00 pm. Technically I didn't make it all the way. Most of the way up my toes were getting really cold. Unfortunately, I have poor circulation. I got passed short hill and misery hill to the end of the plateau right before the last summit push and my toes had gone completely numb. Although I may have been fine, I decided it was better to go down at this point so as to avoid frostbite. I was going to try to use some toe warmers, but my crampons were frozen to my boots and it was going to be too much trouble. Everyone in the group was super nice and told me that as far as they were concerned I made it to the top and that I better not tell anyone otherwise. From what they told me, it wasn't too wonderful up at the summit anyway. Super crowded and cold.
Glissading down the mountain was a blast. We had to hike down red banks a bit because it was a little too icy to glissade at first. Watching other groups glissade was a little scary. Its a miracle those people are still alive considering the crazy ways they were using their ice axes. We even found opportunities to glissade from our camp below Helen Lake down to the parking lot.
Overall, I had a blast. This is my second 14er after Whitney. I didn't take a bunch of pictures, but the ones I did take can be viewed here: PICTURESJun 22, 2010 at 5:35 pm #1622522
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Once you get that boot-toe-crampon circulation problem solved, you should go back and climb it all the way to the top.
Many climbers try to get their crampons strapped on tightly so that they don't come loose, but then they are so tight that they block normal circulation. For some, a stiff boot will solve that problem. For others, a different combination of socks might help.
–B.G.–Jun 22, 2010 at 5:37 pm #1622524
I think I'm going to. I used injinji toe socks as liners under smartwool hiking socks and I'm thinking they might have been part of the problem – along with my poor circulation. The boots were pretty stiff and I had plenty of toe box room. Overall a great experience though.Jun 22, 2010 at 5:50 pm #1622528
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
For some hikers, they actually have their toes feeling better by having thinner socks so that there is more wiggle room. For others, they have to have a really thick combination for maximum padding. YMMV.
The other thing you can do is to better warm the blood flowing down through your legs so that by the time it gets to your toes, it is still good enough to feel right. Warming the blood can be done with more insulation around the legs.
The time I came off Mount Rainier, I didn't get the feeling back in eight of my toes for a couple of weeks.
–B.G.–Jun 29, 2010 at 10:01 am #1624508
@tomclarkLocale: East Coast
Great photos. It looked like a fun group.
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